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Old 5th August 2021, 12:42   #1
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Default US Air Force's F-16 becomes the first-ever fighter jet to receive in-flight OTA updates

The US Air Force's F-16 Fighting Falcon recently received an in-flight software update to its Electronic Warfare System. The OTA update was part of the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) demonstration by the USAF, held recently at the Nellis Air Force Base.

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This is believed to be the first time a fighter jet has ever received a software update and gained new capabilities, all while in flight. The F16 fighter jet received an update to its Mission Data File from hundreds of miles away, using an existing Beyond Line of Sight F-16 satellite communication system.

The F-16 fighter jet received the MDF update and processed it using a custom-developed Centre Display Unit software. The USAF states that no hardware changes / modifications were necessary. The proof-of-concept test, allows the pilot to correlate a previously unknown electronic threat in almost real-time.

The USAF also stated that the real-time software updates are developing into a program, which could soon be offered across its entire F-16 fleet. The next step is said to be integrating high-speed internet in the F-16s, allowing the pilots to access data from a classified cloud.

Source: US Air Force

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Last edited by RahulNagaraj : 5th August 2021 at 12:43.
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Old 5th August 2021, 15:33   #2
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Default Re: US Air Force's F-16 becomes the first-ever fighter jet to receive in-flight OTA updates

Moving towards 5G and beyond even in the consumer space, this was inevitable for the cutting edge defence applications.

However, I sincerely hope that security does not get compromised due to the real life access and makes the platforms vulnerable to hacking!
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Old 5th August 2021, 17:25   #3
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Default Re: US Air Force's F-16 becomes the first-ever fighter jet to receive in-flight OTA updates

Sounds like a really good idea to update objective intel, mission parameters and tactical data in flight. But OTA update sounds risky unless there's a redundant system. These are fly-by-wire and just imagine if an update messes things up with flight controls (not that the updates are being pushed by Samsung and are intended to do harm to hardware).

P.S. I am glad that whatever they are using is not Airtel
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Old 6th August 2021, 13:49   #4
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Default Re: US Air Force's F-16 becomes the first-ever fighter jet to receive in-flight OTA updates

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Originally Posted by vredesbyrd View Post
P.S. I am glad that whatever they are using is not Airtel
And unlikely they use windows, else the bird would have to be rebooted
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Old 6th August 2021, 14:59   #5
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Default Re: US Air Force's F-16 becomes the first-ever fighter jet to receive in-flight OTA updates

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Originally Posted by whitewing View Post
And unlikely they use windows, else the bird would have to be rebooted
Don't be surprised at this. Once I have seen it myself at Chennai airport
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Can any aviation / defence expert explain the need for the OTA upgrade in flight? As per my understanding, planes, especially fighter jets have a very very high standard of maintenance. That means they are very well looked after at the hangars.
Kind of intuitive to do the upgrade then no?
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Old 6th August 2021, 15:12   #6
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Default Re: US Air Force's F-16 becomes the first-ever fighter jet to receive in-flight OTA updates

Quote:
Originally Posted by RahulNagaraj View Post
OTA update was part of the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) demonstration by the USAF, held recently at the Nellis Air Force Base.
This probably explains.. all maintenance is anyways planned well in advance. This was probably a demo to show-and-tell.
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